Digging in the Dirt: May Chapter & Planting Highlights

ecoEXPLORE Introduction to Herpetology, May 9

North Carolina Wildlife Federation staff and Community Wildlife Chapter volunteers did a whole lot of environmental educating, wildlife watching, nature exploring, invasive species removing, native plant garden creating, connecting kids with nature, habitat restoring and more in May to promote healthy wildlife habitat and inspire people to get outside. In total, 200-plus volunteers removed over a thousand pounds of trash and planted over 150 native plants. Over a thousand people were given the opportunity to connect with nature through one of NCWF’s various opportunities this month. 

Thanks to partners such as the Duke Energy Foundation, Jandy Ammons Foundation and Burt’s Bees for helping make these habitat restoration workdays, educational programs and nature outings possible. Explore our Events Calendar to discover where NCWF and our Community Wildlife Chapters are hosting in-person and virtual events near you. Check out a few highlights below from our conservation outreach team.

Dix Park & Rocky Branch Big Sweep, April 29. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation in partnership with Wake County Big Sweep cleaned up around Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh. The crew tackled it all and helped protect North Carolina watersheds! Over 1200 pounds of litter was removed which means 48 native trees will be planted through NCWF’s Clean & Green Program.


Cake at the Lake & Forest Bathing, May 2. The HAWK chapter gathered at Squirrel Lake Park in Matthews for fellowship among chapter and community members. The group enjoyed a delicious cake followed by a presentation by Angie Mattson Stegall titled “Call of the Wild: Embracing Nature and Stillness through Forest Bathing.”


Pollinator Garden Planting at the Red Wolf Center, May 6. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge mobilized youth and adult volunteers in Columbia. The crew planted a variety of native plants around the freshly muralized Red Wolf Center. The mayor of Columbia even stopped by to join the fun!

Woodcroft Rain Garden Workday and Celebration, May 6. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation in partnership with the Woodcroft neighborhood and the Durham County Stormwater Division helped install a native plant rain garden for pollinators and wildlife. After the work was done, the crew enjoyed good fellowship as they ate BBQ and celebrated the day’s accomplishments.

Kids in Nature Day, May 6. Ranger Rick led the way, and 450 kids had the time of their lives at the South Wake Conservationists’ second annual Kids in Nature Day at Lake Benson Park in Garner! With over 1,200 registrations and 900 actual attendees, the event was bustling with activity at 20 hands-on activity stations. Exhibitors reported that the kids all had fun and showed a great deal of interest and engagement in the various nature-related activities, so we hope they are inspired to bring a fascination and respect for wildlife and habitat forward as they grow older.

ecoEXPLORE Introduction to Herpetology, May 9. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Tyrell Public Library celebrated herp season by hosting an introduction to herpetology program geared to getting children excited about reptiles, amphibians and their habitat!

Urban Ecology Nature Tour & Conversation, May 9. Triad Wild! hosted a walking tour and conversation about the ecology of an urban neighborhood. Led by Robin Davis, the group discussed important topics such as how our decisions about landscaping, turf, mosquito control, and management of leaf and debris impact wildlife and their habitat.

Endangered Species Scavenger Hunt, May 10. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft hosted an endangered species themed event. In addition to discussing information about endangered species, participants were treated to a scavenger hunt on the Pocosin Lakes NWR boardwalk!


Carolina Ocean Studies Field Trip, May 10. Island Wildlife joined high school students from Wilmington for a field trip with Carolina Ocean Studies. The event was supported by the National Park Foundation’s Junior Ranger Angler Grant program.

Nature Lending Library Installation, May 12. Thanks to the Neuse River Hawks, Wake Forest Chapter of NCWF, Forest Ridge Park has a new nature themed lending library. The library is stocked with nature books, magazines, and puzzles for both adults and children. Neuse River Hawks members, Tricia and Jim Bell, shared their time and talents to build and paint the library. 

Stonemill Falls Butterfly Garden Workday, May 13. Neuse River Hawks members and community volunteers gathered at the Stonemill Falls Butterfly Garden in Wake Forest to pull weeds, lay cardboard and spread mulch in the garden. Everyone had a great time and learned about the importance of native plants and pollinators.

Tour of Carolina Wildlife Sanctuary, May 13. The Concord Wildlife Alliance chapter visited the Carolina Wildlife Sanctuary. The chapter learned all about the Carolina Wildlife Sanctuary and their effort to rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned wildlife in and around the Cabarrus County area.

Mike Chappell Park Native Tree Planting, May 18. Volunteers from the Carolina Beach Trash Walkers, Friends of Carolina Beach Parks & Greenways, Town of Carolina Beach Parks & Recreation and the Carolina Beach Beautification Committee planted five native trees at Mike Chappell Park on Carolina Beach. The trees were donated by NCWF through the Clean & Green Program.


Charlotte Tree Survey, May 20. The Charlotte Wildlife Stewards, led by staff from City of Charlotte Landscape Management, helped catalog trees in a Charlotte neighborhood on the Tree by Tree map. Participants were able to show their passion for Charlotte’s urban forest and contribute to its protection and preservation.

Woodcroft Invasive Plant Removal, May 20. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation teamed up with the Woodcroft Community and invasive plant removal enthusiasts to tackle invasives, especially privet, which are known to displace native plants and take over habitat. The crew cut and tilled plants where Third Fork Creek runs through the neighborhood. The plants were moved onto a tarp and disposed of properly.

Neuse River Greenway Nature Walk, May 24. The Neuse River Hawks continue to promote local trails in Celebration of 2023 Year of the Trail. This month, the chapter walked along the Neuse River Greenway while identifying plants and animals. The group enjoyed beautiful weather and the genuine camaraderie that always springs to life at these events.


Spring Wildflower Walk at Pisgah National Forest, May 26. NCWF members gathered for an outing with Chris Holler to view and identify spring wildflowers, shrubs and trees, while also learning about the history of the site including a tour of historic buildings along the trail. Twenty participants learned about trout conservation, invasive management and enjoyed the tranquility of NC’s Pisgah National Forest.


Written and compiled by:


Tara Moore, NCWF Director of Conservation Partnerships 


Luke Bennett


Luke Bennett, NCWF Conservation Coordinator


Recent News and Blogs